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Tobacco Farmers Face Uncertainty in Post-Buyout World

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — As planting season nears, tobacco farmers face a dilemma.

Many have yet to decide whether to take a chance on tobacco in a post-buyout world.

While some farmers say they'll stick with the crop that has provided a good living for decades, others say tobacco is just not worth growing anymore.

Congress in October passed a $10 billion buyout of a Depression-era price support system.

No longer is a good price guaranteed, and uncertainties abound. Tim Priest is a 49-year-old farmer who tends to about 250 acres near the Moore County town of Carthage.

Last year, he grew 40 acres of flue-cured tobacco, and he plans to stick with it this year.

Priest has been offered a contract to grow directly for Philip Morris, the nation's largest cigarette maker, but says he's weighing his options.

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